Savory Hand Pies

3 January 2024

A hand pie is pretty much what it sounds like. A type of food small enough to hold in your hand while you eat it. It is a flaky crust around a filling. They can be sweet like a turnover or savory filled with meat and/or vegetables. They can be baked or fried (including deep fried). They can be found in the cuisines of many countries, including regionally in the United States. For this article we are only looking at the savory.

Chicken Empanadas

Empanadas began in Spain and Portugal and migrated with the explorers. It means “to wrap or coat in bread”.


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked chicken, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 12 pastry discs, home made or purchased
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten


  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Add chicken, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
  • Arrange pastry on a flat surface. Place a tablespoon of chicken mixture in the center. Dab a small amount of water along the pastry edges. Fold pastry into a half-moon shape. Close the edges and use the tines of a fork to make a tighter seal and to look finished and attractive.
  • Place the empanadas onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush tops with beaten egg.
  • Bake until golden brown or about 20 minutes.


The samosa comes from India and the Middle East. It can contain spiced potatoes, other vegetables, meat or fish. It can be formed into a triangle, cone, or half moon.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup water


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 green chile peppers, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¾ pound ground meat, lamb, beef, or pork
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice


  • In a bowl mix flour, salt, and butter until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs. Add water a bit at a time until the dough becomes smooth. Form into a ball. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead 10 minutes or until dough becomes elastic. Return to the bowl, cover, and allow to rest.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan and add onion, garlic, green chile peppers, and ginger. Cook until onions are soft and golden. Add turmeric, chili powder, and meat. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook until meat is evenly brown. Add garam masala and lemon juice. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Divide dough into 15 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten into 4-inch circles. Cut each circle in half. Fill with equal portions of meat mixture. Dampen edges of the dough, form into cone. Pinch edges to form a solid seal.
  • Carefully lower cones into a deep skillet with oil heated to 375 degrees. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

Cornish Pasties

Thought to originate in the Cornwall region of England in the United Kingdom, this is another version of a hand-held snack or meal. Traditionally it is in a half-moon or D shape.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups lard or butter, or combination
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 5 carrots, diced
  • 2 rutabagas, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 10 green onions, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • For the crust, place flour and salt in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Cut in lard or butter until mixture is in crumbs. Stir in water a little at a time until the mixture forms a ball. Allow to rest in the refrigerator.
  • For the filling, in a large skillet heat vegetable oil and add onions, carrots and rutabagas. Saute until vegetables are soft.
  • Add ground beef and pork and cook until the meat is no longer pink. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide dough into 12 portions and roll each into a 9-inch circle. Fill half the circle with meat filling and dot with butter. Pat edge of entire crust with water and fold half the crust over the other to form a half moon. Crimp and seal edges. Cut vent holes in the top.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 400 degrees until crust is golden brown.
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